Muckross Franciscan Friary

Map Reference: V975870 (0975, 0870)

The Friary was probably founded by Donal McCarthy in 1448 for the Observantine Franciscans and completed by about 1475. It is one of the best preserved of the Irish Franciscan friaries. It has a rectangular church with a south transept. There are good east and south windows. In the east wall of the transept are two niches which show evidence of painting. In the west end of the church there is a fine memorial of 1829.

There is a greatly mutilated double piscina in the south wall near the east window. Opposite this is a tomb niche with remnants of a box tomb dated 1631. Beside the piscina is a single sedilia and another tomb niche.

There are no signs of any aisles. A fine tower rises from the centre of the church. It is much thicker than the average Franciscan friary tower and it has some traces of crenellations. The cloister to the north of the church is intact and a large yew tree grows from the centre of the garden. There are six arches on each side and each pillar has a buttress.

In the middle of the north arcade is a simple incised sundial. Beside it is a small bullaun.

To the east of the cloister is a three-storey building with a fireplace at the first floor. A spiral stairway rises between this building and the cloister to the first floor. The stairs then rise into the tower and lead above the tower crossing. There are at least three storeys above this level. There are more buildings to the north and west of the cloister.

In the north at first floor level are two good fireplaces, a double piscina and some slopstones. In the west is another fireplace at this level. There are vaulted rooms at the ground floor on three sides of the cloister and much evidence of wicker centering. At the north-east corner of the ground floor is a latrine.

For more examples of Franciscan Friaries click on the following links

Bonamargy, Co Antrim Armagh, Co Armagh Ennis, Co Clare Quin, Co Clare Buttevant, Co Cork Timoleague, Co Cork Claregalway, Co Galway Kilconnell, Co Galway Meelick, Co Galway Rosserrily, Co Galway Ardfert, Co Kerry Lislaughtin, Co Kerry Castledermott, Co Kildare Creevelea, Co Leitrim Adare, Co Limerick Askeaton, Co Limerick Dundalk, Co Louth Moyne, Co Mayo Rosserk, Co Mayo Nenagh, Co Tipperary Roscrea, Co Tipperary

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